Clang. Bang. Ring. Smash. Whistle. Honk. At 9:00 PM every night for the last three weeks, Istanbullus have been making a racket over the rooftops of the city. And down the alleyways and from window to window. It's cacophonous. It's loud. It's sometimes angry, sometimes triumphant. It is the sound of protest.***
Pots and pans, tea kettles, whatever makes the loudest sound, beat it like you mean it. For me, I have tried every kitchen implement in the cabinet, and each has its own advantage. Some sound hollow and silvery, others muffled and tinny. After trial and error, I discovered that I prefer a frying pan and a wooden spoon: it is very loud and echoes like a gong. I can make enough noise on it to make your eardrums vibrate. My wooden spoon is now frayed and dented at the edges from beating so hard with it.
So 9:00 has become a time of release, cathartic. Some nights it has felt almost like a prayer. Other nights like a call to arms. Some nights I have made a racket, wailing on my pan with tears rolling down my face. Other times, I have held my pan up high as friends across the street hold theirs up to me as a kind of toast.
Pot and pan banging now feels like a duty. Sometimes the disparate beats settle into a single rhythm, and it becomes a march cadence or a wordless chant. Through the metallic waves of dissonance bouncing across Istanbul's seven hills, it is a way for people to tell each other, "We're still in this. It's not over."
Make a clamor.
***Here is a truly inspiring song based on the nightly pot and pan banging.